Stargate SG1 - anti-religious?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by derek, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    I’ve tried to catch most of SG1 through season five now (syndicated) and just watched the episode ‘Red Sky.’ What strikes me was the negative slant by O’Neill specifically regarding the faith of the planet inhabitants. Jackson said their religion was sort of an evolution of Norse mythology. I thought it was more reflective of Christianity in dogma and practical worship mirroring somewhat current Episcopal/Catholic faiths. Science fiction in general has ‘rejected’ traditional religious beliefs (humanistic in its approach) and often replaced it with pseudoscience or advanced alien intelligence. In the Stargate world, my understanding is that both Gould and Asgard use to their advantages ALREADY established belief systems on worlds they affect. I can’t particularly think of a case where they establish a belief system themselves (though this may have happened particularly with the Gould’s.) In the movie Ra simply became a god that the proto-Egyptians on Abydos already worshipped. In ‘Demons’ (based on synopsis) Christianity was already established as a faith in the peoples and the Gould ‘took’ over from there.
    This plot point however drives a general atheistic viewpoint of reality. SG1 typically (cynical O’Neill in particular) with humor or even blasé glosses over religious constructs knowing the ‘truth’ about aliens pretending to be who they are not. Current religious faith seems to be based on false pretensions. Believers can look ignorant and even foolish. It was especially glaring in the ‘Red Sky’ episode when O’Neill tries to explain the Asgard ‘deception’ saying something to the effect ‘You don’t need a god why don’t you just think for yourselves.’ A blatantly humanistic cry. It’s apparent SG1 often criticizes the abuses of religion or comments on what the writers believe to be fallacies of faiths (and these are good points to ponder/debate.) However does it (can it?) complement the good of a strong religious belief system? The SG1 world pulls foundational themes from religion but what can it put back in good measure?
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Derek, I'm afraid this just can't be discussed here in the depth it needs to be

    Remember, one of the bases of any religion is CONTROL. Which is more effective?

    1- Don't steal from you neighbors because it will make them sad

    2- Don't steal from your neighbors because you will burn in eternal hellfire and pits of suffering

    In this case, The Goa'uld and the Asgard provide tangible gods, who directly and physically affect their worlds. It's not an atheistic viewpoint, because you can SEE the "gods" right there in front of you whipping you in the naqueda mine. Remember, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. If you went back to the time of the cavemen and brought with you a machine pistol, they would assume you were a god because you can kill with fire from your hand.

    As far as O'Neil in Red Sky. The Asgard couldn't help. So therefore, their gods WEREN'T going to save them. As they say, God helps those who help themselves, but if you've already helped yourself, what do you need with a god? The main goal as stated in the show of the Asgard is for the humans they serve as gods to advance to the point where they can interact as equals.

    I'd love to dicuss it with you further, but I think I've gone as far as I can within the direct limits of the show, you're welcome to email me privately to go further.
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I'm still waiting for General Hammond to come out with the "Prime Directive'.

    No, they don't give a hoot about any religion. O'Neill especially, and in several episodes I can almost imagine what he is thinking (and it is NOT good), but you have to remember that the corruptness of the Gou'ald is really the foundation for the entire series, so anything related to religion is going to get put down by the team.

    But SF is that way in general too. I have assumed in the books that I have read where it is not mentioned at all that the characters in the book have no need for it anymore, probably having decided that science has answered the questions that some religions used as a 'crutch' to explain what people cannot.

    Of course, this thinking does make us think about having a maker of some kind, and some SF authors deliberately write that way just to make us think about that. The end of MIB 1 & 2 were that way too, but it was really 'in your face.' If you didn't think about a maker at the end of those two shows then you just don't know how to think.

    Glenn
     
  4. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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  5. MikeMcNertney

    MikeMcNertney Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure I agree with you that SG1 is anti-religious. After all, what they speak out against is not religion persay, it is specific belief systems that they know for a fact to be false. Is it anti-religious to say that an alien is not, in fact, a god? There is no implication that there ISN'T a god, just that the figure they believe is a god, actually isn't.

    Think about it with respect to cults here. If you were to speak out and tell the members that the leader of the cult is not a god, does that make you anti-religious? No, of course not
     

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